Woodstock’s former financial partner accuses festival of “incompetence”
The tensions between the troubled Woodstock 50 and its former financial partner Dentsu Aegis Network have been escalating since Dentsu announced the festival's cancellation in late April, something co-founder Michael Lang insists they did not have the right to do. Former Donald Trump personal attorney Marc Kasowitz, now retained by Lang and Woodstock, filed a court order on Friday seeking the return of $17 million the festival says was "illegally swept" from its bank account, and accusing Dentsu of "enormous and irreparable harm" through their "outrageous and illegal misconduct." Now Billboard reports that Dentsu's lawyer, Marc L. Greenwald, has filed a memorandum of law in response.
"Woodstock 50 LLC’s and Michael Lang’s misrepresentations, incompetence, and contractual breaches have made it impossible to produce a high-quality event that is safe and secure for concertgoers, artists, and staff," Greenwald writes. "The production company has quit, no permits have been issued, necessary roadwork has not begun, and there is no prospect for sufficient financing. As much as the parties might wish it otherwise, the festival contemplated by their agreement cannot happen and allowing it to go forward would only put the public at risk."
Greenwald's injuction response also says Lang "repeatedly lied to Dentsu chief commercial officer DJ Martin, saying the 74-year-old misrepresented that the festival site at Watkins Glen International speedway could accommodate 150,000 fans. Lang is also accused of lying about how far along he was with the application process for a mass gathering permit with New York's Department of Health -- so far no permit has been secured," Billboard reports. Superfly had stated the capacity for the festival at 75,000. Furthermore, Greenwald writes, Lang booked $25 million in artists to perform at the festival, in spite of its potential capacity being half of what he claimed.
UPDATE: Kasowitz released a statement to Billboard in response to Dentsu's filing. "While Dentsu has used its filing to sling mud, nothing in its court papers changes the fact that Dentsu has no right under its agreement with Woodstock 50 to either cancel the Festival or abscond with nearly $18 million of the Festival’s money," it reads. "We look forward to addressing that in court this afternoon."
Production company Superfly ended their involvement with the festival early in May. Lang tapped CID Entertainment, previously set to work alongside Superfly to do the festival's VIP and hospitality services, to replace Superfly, but according to Billboard, CID have not independently confirmed their new role.
Meanwhile, Lang will be appearing in conversation at NYC's City Winery on June 30. According to the event page:
For this one time speaking event, Lang will offer his unique behind-the-scenes perspective on the iconic festival and it's legacy. He will also share his vision for the Woodstock 50 festival he is producing this summer, which aims to reinforce the message of the Woodstock Nation with a focus on political activism and awareness, environmental sustainability, and social equality.
The format of this event will be a moderated conversation followed by Q&A's. Meet and Greet tickets will be available.
Tickets are on sale now (no word on what happens if Woodstock 50 is formally cancelled between now and then)